I have been raising chicks and integrating them into my flock for five years. I follow the same routine (more or less): get chicks; brood chicks in my laundry room until they are feathered out; move them to the chick nursery (aka, the small coop); brood them until it's warm enough outside to put on their screen door; open screen door and introduce them to the WOS (wide open spaces); have them safely meet the big girls through the chicken wire; move them into the big coop. Start all over again.
This system has worked wonderfully. Except for the brooding in the laundry room part, because chicks are very, very dusty and noisy. But I have limited space and that seems to work best. Every part of this system has been tested, tried, streamlined. It works like a charm. Or, I should say, it had. This batch of youngsters have been the monkey wrench in my gears. Things were going along swimmingly until I opened the screen door to widen their horizons. Getting them out into their little enclosure wasn't the problem. It was getting them back in. As the sun set, they would LEAVE the coop and wad together in a corner outside. Every bloody night. Then would set in what we referred to as the nightly rodeo, where the large, clumsy, slow-moving person (moi) would run back and forth, trying to corner the buggers. One night it got particularly exciting as Bernie managed to get inside and "help" me. I finally gave in and unearthed my butterfly net.
For one whole week, this ocurred every night. I cursed them as the most stupid chickens on the planet. I cursed aLOT. Then, a small, dim bulb of fuzzy memory popped up. These chicks were started later than I usually start them. And the temperatures were much higher than usual. So.....I had taken their brooder light out. When the sun set, the inside of the coop was darker than outside. I put their brooder light back in the little coop and turned it on just as twilight began. They all trooped up the ramp and into the coop.
I will have to say that, after securing their door for the night, I get some sorry little pleasure yanking the plug on their light. Dummy, indeed.